Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry
A Reading Ireland Month book
From the acclaimed author of the international sensations City of Bohane and Beatlebone, a striking and gorgeous new novel of two aging criminals at the tail ends of their damage-filled careers. A superbly melancholic melody of a novel full of beautiful phrases and terrible men.
In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen – Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs – sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter, Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence, romance, mutual betrayals, and serial exiles, rendered with the dark humor and the hard-boiled Hibernian lyricism that have made Kevin Barry one of the most striking and admired fiction writers at work today.
One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2019
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, Lit Hub, The Millions, The Paris Review, and NPR
Number One Irish Times Best Seller
Longlisted for The Booker Prize
Man oh man, did I miss the boat on this one! All those accolades, I figured it must be good. The blurb sounded interesting. Audiobook from my favorite library, what could I lose? Time—and at my age—that’s getting more precious.
I had an awful time with this one. For an audiobook some five and one-half hours, it just seemed to go on and on. I didn’t think I could get through it. Spoken in hushed, harsh monotones, and, finally, thankfully, it ended.
What did I miss here?
A plot? Oops. Did I miss that? (Of course, it’s totally character-driven.)
Depth to the characters…well, certainly they were described and we understood by the blurb they were despots. Cue the heavy Irish slang, had to back it up several times but after awhile that got tedious.
Perhaps so literary it went zooming right over my head. Perhaps I didn’t give it the attention it deserved. Perhaps I was so bored, I just flat couldn’t get into either of the characters or their stories.
There were times when it seemed chunks of narrative had been edited out and no backfilling ensued. I don’t want to characterize them as the dregs of society, but they were the dregs of society and if one of them was waiting for daughter Dilly, I feared for the character of the poor child, wondering what kind of childhood she might have had.
My first experience with the author. Have you read or listened to this book? Am I just ignorant or do you agree even somewhat? Can you cite a book by the author that you discovered profound and would recommend I try again? This one was just not the book for me and I’m giving it two stars simply because I did not DNF it.
Genre: Urban Fiction, Humorous fiction, Fiction Urban Life
Publisher: Random House Audio
Listening Length: 5 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Kevin Barry
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Night Boat to Tangier [Amazon]
The Author: Kevin Barry is the author of the novels Beatlebone and City of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. His awards include the International Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. His stories and essays appear in The New Yorker, Granta, and elsewhere. He also works as a playwright and screenwriter, and he lives in County Sligo, Ireland. –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition.